It was not too long ago that Gazprom, the state-controlled energy conglomerate, was one of the Kremlin’s most potent geopolitical weapons. But those days now seem like a distant memory: Gazprom is a financial shadow of its former self.
China, the world’s largest economy, has set its eyes on Georgia, a traditional gateway between Asia and Europe, and its investment power could transform the poverty-stricken South Caucasus country’s prospects, some observers believe.
The Iranian nuclear deal has broad trade implications for Eurasia. The pending lifting of sanctions would allow Iran to take advantage of its favorable geographic position, as it straddles the commercial crossroads connecting Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
The Electric Yerevan protest in the Armenian capital did not manage to attain the critical mass needed to transform into a Euromaidan-type event, leading to an overhaul of the country’s political system. But local analysts believe that Electric Yerevan will nevertheless prompt changes in government policy.
Authorities in Azerbaijan assert that playing host to the European Games marks the emergence of a self-assured nation capable of staging a major international sporting event. But some residents of the host city, the Azerbaijani capital Baku, are reserving judgment. To them, the accuracy of such statements will be determined by developments after the closing ceremonies on June 28.
One year ago, Georgia signed an historic free-trade deal with the European Union that many saw as the ticket for finally pulling the country’s largely agricultural economy out of its post-Soviet slump. But so far, how fast that deal can help transform Georgian agriculture is open to doubt.